Thursday, August 31, 2017

Is DonaldTrump Planning a Civil War?

It’s not a stretch to say it appears Donald Trump remains enamored by the Confederacy and the racist imagery and passion it arouses. Further, he’s continued to rile his angry white base with racially-tinged rhetoric and dog whistles. So is this behavior merely incoherent, random emotional rantings or part of some master plan to provoke a civil war in the event he’s indicted, impeached and/or removed from office through invocation of the 25th Amendment? It sure as hell seems like the latter.

I can hear him now:

“They’re taking away your president! Who YOU voted for! Who promised to give you back the America you love and which has forgotten you! The fake news media has created all these fake scandals about me and Russia. And special investigator Robert Mueller’s witch hunt is all too happy to drum up fake charges over them. And those losers in Congress, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, are playing along with the failing Democrats to protect their own interests and grab even more power. And it’s YOU who loses! I told you the deck was stacked against you. I told you you’re getting screwed. And I promised to make your lives great again. But they’re stopping me. They’re trying to throw me out of office! It’s shocking and un-American! Are YOU gonna let them do that!? Are YOU gonna let them steal your vote?! WHO’S YOUR PRESIDENT!!?? (crowd chants “TRUMP!”). WHO’S YOUR PRESIDENT!? (”TRUMP!!”) AND WHO’S GONNA STAY PRESIDENT!? (”TRUMP!!”). So are you ANGRY!? (”YEAH!!”) And whattya gonna do about it?! You gonna FIGHT for your vote? You gonna FIGHT to keep what’s yours?! You gonna FIGHT for your president?!! Defend yourselves! Protect your rights! Do you hear me? Do you know what I mean??” USA! USA! USA! 

Seriously, is there anyone who doesn’t see this as an entirely plausible scenario? That a thin-skinned, self-consumed, unhinged megalomaniac dictator-wannabe like Trump would not go to this extreme, especially if his ginormous ego is bruised and he feels threatened, trapped and cheated? That the great “counter-puncher” would not come roaring back with the most outlandish punch of all? That he wouldn’t selfishly rather see the country spiral into chaos and violence than be a ‘loser?’ 

The case is already being made by Trump surrogates who warn of violent outbreaks if his presidency is threatened.

"Try to impeach him. Just try it," Trump crony Roger Stone said in an interview with TMZ. "You will have a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen.”

Televangelist Jim Bakker predicted an historic revolt by Christians if there are attempts to remove Trump from office. 

"If it happens, there will be a civil war in the United States of America,” Bakker told his TV audience. “The Christians will finally come out of the shadows, because we are going to be shut up permanently if we're not careful."

And Trump believes this is all true, which is why he continues to stoke the flames of rage and racism. Make no mistake: he’s doing so with precision and calculation. This is not a coincidence. He knows Congress, Mueller and the Feds are closing in. He knows the end is near, which is why he’s desperately and relentlessly trying to distract, deny and discredit Mueller, the intelligence community, the media and even his Congressional Republican leadership. He’s panicked. And when Trump panics, nothing else matters. Certainly not the safety and security of America. 

So he continues to lie to his base. To scapegoat his opponents. To make himself the victim, and by extension, make them the victims too. To hammer home his “us vs them” Helter Skelter narrative. It’s his Hail Mary when all else fails and the game’s about to end. ‘If I can’t have you no one else will...’

I think we already know that Trump’s rabid base would indeed still support him even if he starts shooting people in the street. The bigger question is, would they take to the streets for him?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Message to Trump Supporters

Donald Trump once infamously said "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." Well, after standing by him during his controversial eighteen month campaign and his chaotic seven-month presidency, you’ve proven him right. 

I’m beginning to believe that there’s nothing Trump could do or say, not a damned thing, to lose you. That your anger, resentment and, yes, racism, is so overpowering that you’d somehow find a way to defend anything he says or does. Anything.  Even if he shot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue. 

“That nun deserved it!” we’d hear you say.

“Did you see how that baby threw his pacifier at Trump!? It was self-defense!” you’d shout. 

During the campaign we witnessed Trump’s inner demons in full view. He began with a vile racist attack on Mexicans. What followed were merciless attacks on anyone he viewed as opposition or a threat, including the disabled, war heroes, Gold Star families, beauty pageant winners, judges, our allies and even the Pope. 

Then the infamous pussy-grabbing tape emerged, in which Trump admitted to sexually abusing women. Your response? You went to his rallies wearing “He can grab my pussy anytime!” t-shirts, with an arrow pointing towards your cooches. You agreed with him that it was just “locker room talk.” You rationalized that he just talked about assaulting women, but he never actually did it.’

And despite all this you elected him president. 

You then watched as he disparaged the intelligence community. 

You watched as he attacked the independent judiciary.

You watched as he said our free and open press is “the enemy of the people.”

After decades of being staunchly anti-Russia and perceiving them as an existential threat to America, you’ve condoned the U.S. president colluding with them to steal an election; undermine our democracy; and obstruct justice to cover it up. 

You have no issue with Trump firing FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Sally Yates, and publicly denigrating special prosecutor Robert Mueller, over investigations into his possible treasonous behavior.

You voted for him because he was supposed to be such a great businessman—a super dealmaker— who’ll run the country like his company and attract the best people. Who’ll give you ‘so much winning your head will spin.’ 

And then you watched all the resignations and firings, including Comey, Yates, Preet Bharara, Michael Flynn, K.T. McFarland, Katie Walsh, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Anthony Scaramucci, Steve Bannon. Never before in presidential history have we had this level of departures in such a short amount of time. Yet you still think he’s a great businessman who picks great people despite the increasing chaos in the White House. 

You’re oblivious to the nuclear war that could result from Trump’s juvenile bickering with that other petulant manbaby, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. 

You watched as Trump lied to you and broke campaign promise after campaign promise. No wall. No Muslim ban. No Obamacare repeal. No “ripping up” the Iran deal. No pulling out of NAFTA. No releasing of his tax returns. No divesting of his business. 

You love that he “drained the swamp,” but have allowed him to fill the White House with it.

You cheered like sheep as Trump relentlessly criticized Barack Obama for his frequent vacations, yet have no issue with him spending more than a third of his time vacationing. 

You manically chanted “lock her up!” as Trump viciously attacked Hillary Clinton, yet continue to enable his blatant corruption. 

You stood silent as Trump defended white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK. You seem totally fine with him equating genocidal maniacs with those who protest against them. You and your sons and daughters are the people who patriotically serve our military and fight our wars, yet you’ve allowed Trump to convince you that ‘violence against Nazis’ is unjust. That there’s some “very fine people” in those fiery torch-bearing gangs of thugs who chant “Jews will not replace us.” 

And now you’re watching the real, long-overdue beginning of Trump’s end, as anyone with a brain is either abandoning him or about to soon. This includes key Republicans such as Sen. Bob Corker, Sen Tim Scott and Sen. Lindsay Graham; the business community; evangelicals; the arts community; and charitable organizations who are cancelling events at his Mar-a-Lago resort. 

You’re witnessing Congress oppose him, the military disobey him and rebuke his racist rhetoric, and 67% of the country reject him. 

Despite all this you are still supporting a man who is woefully unfit for the job. Who in the past seven months has become completely unhinged. Who has no discipline or impulse control. Who has the patience, attention span and maturity of a 5-year-old. Who grabs vaginas, is in bed with Putin and kisses Nazi ass. Who lacks a moral compass and is therefore utterly lost as he navigates his way through humanity and the toughest job on the planet. 

So then, what would it take for you to bail? Can he actually shoot someone? Would that do it? Would that be your moral line in the sand? That we even have to ask at this point is astonishing.

Friday, August 18, 2017

WTF is Wrong with You, Trump?

Seriously...what the fuck is wrong with you? Nazis? Really? Nazis? This was supposed to be a textbook slam dunk. A no-brainer. A political gift. Repeat after me: “Nazis are genocidal maniacs, I unequivocally condemn their actions, and I do not want their support or votes.” See how easy that was? But instead you gave us: ‘Nazis and those who fight them are the same’ and ‘There’s some very fine Nazis out there!’ I would say you’re tone-deaf but that would be a grammatical miscarriage.

Your psychological pathos runs much deeper though. You are incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. Of intuitively knowing what not to say, and when not to say it. Of feeling empathy. Of thinking or caring about anyone but yourself. Not your family, your fellow Americans or citizens of the world. You’re an immature, self-consumed megalomaniac lacking discipline and impulse-control. You’re monumentally insecure, self-loathing and capable of feeling good only by hurting others. You’re self-destructive and you pose a grave existential threat to the rest of us. You are a menace to society. A disgrace to America. A stain on the office.

We watched as you promised to ‘make America great again’ but then proceeded to piss all over it. We watched as you filled the White House with alt-right white nationalists like Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka. We watched as you attacked President Obama’s citizenship and legitimacy. We watched as you attacked Mexicans. We watched as you tried to ban Muslims. We watched as you mocked and disparaged war heroes, Gold Star families, the disabled, judges, our allies and even the Pope. We watched as you bragged of grabbing pussies and of sexually abusing women. We watched as you colluded with Russia and quite likely stole the election. And now we’re watching you embrace white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK. But the tide is turning. There’s a palpable shift in the air.

We saw the Defense Department reject your unconscionable transgender policy. We saw Congress reject your Obamacare repeal. We saw all four Joint Chiefs this week reject the racism you so comfortably embrace. We’re seeing key Republicans including Sens. Bob Corker, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham condemn you. We’re seeing corporate CEO’s abandon you. We’re seeing major organizations including the American Cancer Society and the Cleveland Clinic cancel planned events at your Mar-a-Lago resort. We’re seeing the public reject you. Your approval rating is the worst in history. Get used to it. This is just the beginning. You’re the “I alone” president who’s being soundly rejected by everyone except your misguided, hate-filled “I can shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue” crazies. 

Your days are numbered. It’s quite possible that your Nazi blunder alone will do you in. It may take time, but it’s hard to fathom you being able to govern after that. But then there’s RussiaGate, and the likely fact that you’re guilty of collusion, obstruction of justice and maybe even treason. I sleep soundly every night knowing that you’re losing sleep over Robert Mueller’s investigation. He’s your boogeyman, and he’s comin’ to get ya. 

RussiaGate. And Nazis. Can’t forget those ‘very fine’ Nazis. Face it, it’s not pretty, Donnie. The Feds are closing in, and that terrifies you. And now you smell a rat in Congress. You know damn well that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (ya know, the guy you mercilessly bashed recently on Twitter) and House Speaker Paul Ryan are huddled behind closed doors white-boarding the options to kick your unfit, racist ass to the curb. I’d also keep my eye on Brutus Pence. With an insatiable hunger for the throne himself, he’ll be stabbing you in the back in due time. 

Whether it’s the 25th Amendment, impeachment or indictment, I think you know the end is near. Best to make like Richard Nixon and resign. New York awaits you with hermetically-sealed arms...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Have We Finally Reached the Trump Tipping Point?

So now we have Donald Trump equating Nazis with those who fight against them. Apparently Trump never got the memo that it’s never, ever ok to defend Nazis. Never. Ever. Under no circumstances. There’s simply no justification. Ever. Period. It’s political suicide. But will it be with Trump? Can the teflon president, who’s so far survived just about every political sin imaginable, overcome what will surely go down as the most bizarre, erratic, outlandish, un-American press conference in history?

Just days following the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Trump took to a podium at Trump Tower to discuss infrastructure. But when he took reporters’ questions, they pounced, asking why it took two days for him single out neo-Nazis, the KKK and white supremacists while pressing him to explain his seeming defense of these hate groups and the moral equivalency he’s created between them and the anti-fascists protesting them. 

For about the next 15 minutes Trump went off the rails. We got to see the real Trump, not the duplicitous, tone-deaf, empathy-bankrupt huckster who on Monday, without any emotion or sincerity whatsoever, read a revised version of his controversial anti-racism statement. The Racist-in-Chief, who failed to specifically mention white supremacists in his comments Saturday, did so under massive pressure two days later, only to dial it all back Tuesday, blatantly doubling-down on his “many sides” equivocation. 

“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump reasserted in a heated exchange with reporters. “You had a group on one side that was bad. You had a group on the other side that was also very violent. Nobody wants to say that. I’ll say it right now.” 

Perhaps “nobody wants to say that” because it’s an incomprehensibly ignorant, unconscionable comparison. Yes, there was violence on both sides. But Trump apparently has forgotten that America violently fought the Nazis during WWII. That American soldiers took up arms and bravely defended Democracy and freedom against these genocidal maniacs who posed a grave threat to world order. Did they die in vain? Did they give their lives only to have a U.S. president 70 years later turn the White House into the Reich House? 

Let’s be clear: this was a rally organized by white supremacists who came draped in shields, helmets and brandishing weapons. Only one “side” marched in the streets carrying lit torches while angrily chanting racist, anti-Semitic Nazi slogans (i.e. ”blood and soil” and “Jews will not replace us”). Only one “side” of cowardly mobs were beating black men. And only one “side” heaped praise on Trump following his Nazi-enabling comments.

“Thank you President Trump for your honesty & courage to tell the truth about #Charlottesville,” former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke tweeted. 

And in an unprecedented display of either denial, duplicity and/or political expediency, Trump added “You also had some very fine people on both sides.”

Sorry. There are no “very fine” Nazis. No “very fine” white supremacists. No “very fine” KKK members. They belong to hate groups who who seek to annihilate Jews, gays and people of color. There’s no ambiguity. No equivocating. No moral equivalencies. That the United States president believes there is proves yet again that he is unfit for the job. 

Key questions loom larger than ever: Will House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ever act to remove Trump from office? Will vice president Mike Pence and Trump’s cabinet ever agree to invoke the 25th Amendment? Are they all hoping special prosecutor Robert Mueller ends up doing their dirty work for them? Will the public finally turn against him? Has Trump finally crossed an uncrossable line?

It’s the Nazis, stupid...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trump and Hitler, Part 2

“Trump and Hitler.” I wrote this piece almost two years ago. I saw the handwriting on the wall. It was crystal clear. But it wasn’t a popular comparison back then. Maybe it was denial. Who could think that America could actually be overtaken by a president who by his words and deeds appears to not merely support white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK but, worse, instigates them and covets their votes. But here we are, America. And the concern of two years ago has turned deadly.

Heather Heyer, 32, lost her life this past weekend. She was murdered by a white nationalist sociopath who sped his car into a crowd of anti-fascist protestors at the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. She was protesting against angry, hate-filled, shield-wearing, weapons-brandishing white supremacists who’d organized a “Unite the Right” rally, marching through the streets carrying lit torches while chanting anti-Semitic, racist slogans including “white lives matter,” “you will not replace us,” “one people, one nation, end immigration” and “blood and soil,” (a Nazi Germany hate slogan) while violently attacking anyone who got in their way. It was a terrifying spectacle. Heyer was killed in a clear act of domestic terrorism shrouded in images which invoked the horrors of Nazi Germany and the deep South 50+ years ago.

Trump spoke out hours later, but not without generating controversy, and bi-partisan criticism, with his choice of equivocating language:

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

It didn’t take long for hate-groups to respond favorably:

“We are determined to take our country back,” said former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke at the Virginia rally. Calling it a “turning point,” Duke vowed to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”

For extra measure, Duke later tweeted the following reminder:

“I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”

This would’ve been the perfect moment for Trump to not only denounce Duke, the KKK and white supremacists, but to clearly state that he neither wants, seeks or will accept their support. But he does. And he thrives on their adulation.

A clear example is the praise heaped on Trump by the the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer:

“He didn’t attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us,” wrote Andrew Anglin, the website’s founder. “No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good. God bless him.” (for the record, I suspect Jesus would be outraged by this despicable racist behavior).

Donald Trump is no stranger to racism. His father was a KKK sympathizer. His father’s real estate business, as well as his own, were investigated and charged with racial discrimination. He was a public agitator during the racial tension of NYC’s infamous Central Park Five rape case. He gave birth to the racist birther movement against Barack Obama. As a presidential candidate he launched his campaign with an unconscionable attack on Mexicans and ran on a “Make America Great Again” theme (code for make America “white” again). He’s re-tweeted hate groups. He’s incited violence at his rallies and made outrageous comments like “Look at my African-American over here!” 

And now Trump, who relentlessly attacked President Obama for failing to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism” cannot or will not himself specifically call out and condemn white supremacists, neo-Nazis, the KKK and Duke. Because he likes what they’re doing and needs and wants their continued support. Trump is creating racial animus and then exploiting the turmoil for personal political reasons. He’s ripping apart the nation, stoking the flames of hatred to feed and preserve his 33% base.

As we’ve seen countless times, Trump, who’s so capable of clear condemnation of anyone he feels threatened by—including Rosie O’Donnell, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Megyn Kelly, Khizr Khan, Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell, Jeff Sessions and even the Pope—is verbally neutered when it comes to white supremacists. This is a simple binary choice: he’s either with or against racists. Period. No equivocating. But yet again, Trump is making his choice clear.

The irony of Trump’s presidency is that the phrase “Make America Great Again” has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The land of hope and dreams has become the land of intolerance and hatred. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” is now “Blacks, Jews, Mexicans, Muslims, Immigrants, gays... get the fuck out.” And against the backdrop of this past weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, the White House is starting to resemble the New Reich Chancellery... a racist headquarters for Trump and his alt-right nationalists Steve Bannon, Sebastion Gorka and Stephen Miller.

Trump’s view of himself, and his vision for America, runs counter to everything we stand for. The damage he’s causing the presidency and the nation may now be irreparable. At the very least, it will take many years to undo.

To be sure, Trump is woefully unfit for the job and poses a grave threat to the Constitution and our national security. Whether through impeachment, the 25th Amendment and/or indictment, Trump must be removed from office before the situation worsens. Before there’s more violence and death. Before America devolves into a banana republic. That responsibility largely belongs to Senate Majority Leader McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Vice President Mike Pence and special counsel Robert Mueller. But it’s also incumbent upon journalists to report the facts and expose the lies. And the public must become more engaged, outraged and demanding of a change in leadership. Only then can America achieve greatness again.